Thursday, February 26, 2009

Helper Angel

Before I begin, let me just say that EVERYONE slept great last night!  The Banana and Bee stayed in their beds all night long and Mom and Dad enjoyed eight hours of uninterrupted sleep!  We are all feeling better today.  Thanks for all the restful thoughts!

After our eventful evening the other day, Leah ended up being sick with a 24 hour bug.  It was not pretty, but it was short lived.  I noticed while Leah was sick this time that Hannah really took on a mothering role.  She was so tender and sweet with her sister which melted my heart. In fact, Hannah told me she was Leah's "Helper Angel."  I thought this was so cute and started calling her "Helper Angel" for the rest of the day.  A few hours later, I found Hannah like this:

She had gone to her dress up box and pulled out this angel costume.  She wore it the rest of the day.  My sweet, sweet little Helper Angel.

Then today, I found Hannah and Leah like this:

Under Hannah's guidance they had both colored their faces with marker.  Hannah said, "I just wanted to give us tattoos!"  Oh dear.  Thankfully it was washable marker.  

Come back, Helper Angel!  Come back!  

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Our Night

I'm dragging today.  This probably has something to do with our night last night.  

11:00 pm-- Mom and Dad turn off light and go to sleep.  

12:30 am-- Suspect #1 (Hannah) comes into the bedroom asking for a band-aide for her foot. There is no cut on her foot, so therefore there is no logical explanation for why her foot needs a band-aide at 12:30 pm.  Suspect #1 cries as Mom does not place the band-aide in the appropriate spot.  Finally, the light is turned on and the band-aide is properly secured.  Suspect #1 is led back to her bed.

1:30 am-- Suspect #1 returns to the bedroom and asks to sleep with Mom and Dad.  Now that Mom is seventeen weeks pregnant, she is sleeping with numerous pillows to prop her up.  Bed is too crowded for four year old Suspect #1.  Crying and wailing ensue until a treat is promised in the morning if she goes back to her bed.  Finally, Suspect #1 surrenders and is led by a tired Mom back to her bed.

2:45 am-- Suspect #2 (Leah) wanders into bedroom.  Delirious parents think it is Suspect #1 again and lose their patience.  "What is it?!"  tired Mom asks. Only to be met with a different little voice.  "Mom, I threw up in my bed."  Lights go on again. Dad and Mom (feeling guilty for snapping at poor Suspect #2) walk Suspect #2 back to her room.  Sheets are stripped and put in the washer, new sheets are added to the bed, lights go back off, lullaby music is started and Suspect #2 finally falls back asleep (after some back scratching and a few drinks of water).

3:45 am-- Suspect #2 returns to inform us that her lullaby music is not playing anymore.  Dad goes in to start the music again.  Returns quickly.  Mom is whining about how tired she is and how is she ever going to make it through the day, etc.  Dad offers Mom a back rub.  Mom nearly cries tears of joy.  After back rub, both Mom and Dad fall back asleep.

6:00 am-- Dad's alarm clock goes off.  

And we're going to throw a newborn into this crazy mix?!  
Yes we are.  
Because this was not a typical night.  Because most nights we only get up once and every now and then not at all.  Because we're making progress.  I promise we are.  And when I look into this new baby's eyes,  another few years of interrupted sleep with be worth it.  

I will just have really dark circles under my eyes.  =)

Monday, February 23, 2009

Children's Books

I love children's books.  And young adult books too.  My mom was an elementary school librarian and I even started my master's degree in Library Science, but stopped when I had kids.  I love, love, love books.  And children's books are no exception.  A longtime goal of mine is to read all the Newberry Winners as far back as the award goes (1930-something).  I've read a lot, but I have a lot still to go.  Anyway, the girls and I (and sometimes my mom) go to the public library just about every week.  Some weeks we get books that are good.  And then some weeks we find books that are great.  Like maybe I'd actually go pay for them great.  This week we scored.  Here are two of my top picks.  If you have kids (and even if you don't) check them out next time your at the library.  

Diary of a Worm by Doreen Cronin is such a cute book.  It's actually funny.  Not just silly funny, but good humor funny.  I love the illustrations and I hope there's a sequel so I can read more about Worm and his small, but significant little life.  Ms. Cronin does have a book called Diary of a Spider which we'll have to check out next.

Smash! Mash! Crash!  There Goes the Trash!  by Barbara Odanaka
is a fun one too.  I like the rhythm of the words and the colorful 
pictures. It's also got plenty of grossness to suit any four or five 
year old just perfectly.  Apple Cores, coffee grounds, stinky diapers,
etc.  I can hear my girls saying "Ewwww!" with every page.  

Next time you're at the library, you'll have to check these out!

Saturday, February 21, 2009


I woke up today in a sort of funk.  I think I had a mixture of feelings, but the best way to describe it was simply just "down in the dumps."  I think I was feeling stressed about a few situations, and I led myself into a downward pity-party spiral.  

So Mike took the girls on a walk and I am enjoying some much needed quiet time this afternoon. And I thought a good way to bust out of this metal fog would be to just make a list of everything I'm feeling thankful for.  Here goes......

1.  My family.  Oh how I love them.  And not only my husband, children and parents.  But everybody.  Seriously.  My aunts, uncles, cousins, in-laws.  I read my cousin Katie's blog today and it brought a smile to my face.  She's studying in France this semester, and she writes so beautifully about her experiences. She's like my little sister, and I am so proud of her!

2. A clean house.  I spent yesterday and some of Thursday really deep cleaning our house.  It feels so great to wake up on Saturday and not feel crumbs under my feet when I walk into the kitchen.

3.  Food to eat.  I went to the grocery store earlier this morning and have several meals planned out for the week ahead.

4.  Books.  I have a good book that I'm in the middle of and a stack of at least four or five more ready to go.  

5.  The Sun.  It's really cold today, but the sun is shining and the sky is blue.  And I know that Spring is on it's way. In another month at least.  I'm so thankful that the seasons are a predictable part of our year.  

6. Chocolate.  I know I already mentioned food, but I ate two chocolate chip cookies earlier that were so good.  We don't always have sweets around here, so I'm thankful for a little indulgence.

7.  Pictures.  All around my house are framed photos of people that I love.  

8.  My bed.  When we moved into our new house a year ago, we splurged and bought ourselves a new king sized bed.  It is so comfortable.  I look forward to sleeping in it at night.

9.  My cats.  There is nothing better when you are feeling down than a big furry bundle snuggling up next to you.  I swear these cats have a sixth sense and know when I'm feeling sad. They seem to pay extra attention to me then.

10. Friendships.  The kind that love you no matter what and always encourage.  These are so valuable.

There-- I feel better already.  It helps to focus on the good things in my life.  What are you thankful for today?

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

This Little Human

Have I shown you this little human lately?

Can you believe it?  And this ultrasound picture was taken when I was 12 weeks pregnant.  I'm sixteen weeks now-- a full month later and there's no telling how much this little one has grown.  This pregnancy is flying by compared to my pregnancy with my twins.  I remember back in July of 2004, when I was sixteen weeks along,  Mike and I took a trip to New York City.  We stayed in a hotel for a few nights and then went across the state line to New Jersey to hang out with his family for a few days.  I remember that trip so clearly and then just a few months later it seems like the girls made their arrival!  I have a feeling that August 3rd is going to creep up on me before I know it!

We find out whether this little growing human is a boy or girl at our next ultrasound on March 12th.  I can't wait to find out.  I can't wait to get to know this baby growing inside me.  I can't wait to see how our family makes room for one more to love.

There's so much to look forward to.....

Monday, February 16, 2009

Full Hearts

I was planning on posting all these Valentine's Day pics yesterday, but I ended up nursing a sick child instead.  Hannah woke up with a 102 fever and felt pretty bad all day.  She just stayed on the couch and either watched movies or slept all day long.   She kept asking me to "snuggle" with her, which I did between doses of Motrin, checking her temperature, and scratching her back.  At one point her fever spiked at 104!  She didn't have any other symptoms though.  No runny nose, cough, or stomach issues.  And thankfully, after a good night's sleep she woke up today cool as a cucumber and back to her spunky little self.  Thank goodness!

So here are a few pics of our Valentine's Day as a family.

When the girls woke up Saturday morning they found these clues scattered around the house which eventually led them to claim their small gift from Mike and me.  They liked going on an "adventure."  Afterwards we went to Jimmy's Egg for a yummy breakfast.
After breakfast, we stopped by my parents' house where a new basketball goal was waiting for them!  Even though it was cold outside, they played for a long time.  And they're not too bad either!  =)
Two points, Hannah!
Her smile says it all.
Way to go, Leah!
Later, the girls made Valentine Cards.  Here's my card from Hannah.  I love it.

That evening we decided to have a candlelit dinner at home.  Here's our table pre-dinner.
And here's our Valentine cake that the girls and I made earlier in the afternoon.  We each had a big piece for dessert.  Talk about sugar overload.
So to end our night, we needed to let out some sugary energy, and what better way than dancing around!  To Christmas music I might add.  That's what the girls wanted to dance to, so we rolled with it and danced to Joy to the World and Little Drummer Boy on Valentine's Day.
These girls have got some serious dance skills.  =)

I hope you also had a great Valentine's Day!  It's hard to believe that next year we'll be celebrating with three little ones!  Wow.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Two Thoughts About Love

Happy Valentine's Day!  I hope you are having a great day.  Our day has been wonderful so far, and I'll blog and post photos tomorrow. But since it is the "official" day of love, I thought I'd share two thoughts I have on the subject.  

First off-- this song.  I love it.  It's such a happy song and it sums up so nicely the way I feel about my little family.  There's no video unfortunately, so just listen and read on.  Or get up and dance if you feel so inclined!

Second-- this verse found in First Corinthians.  Of all the beautiful poems that have been written about love over the course of history, nothing can capture the true meaning of love better that this (in my opinion!).  It is something I try to strive for in my marriage, the way I love my children and the way I love my friends and extended family.  

Love is patient, love is kind.  It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.  Love does not delight in evil, but rejoices with the truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.  Love never fails.

1 Corinthians 13:4-8 (New International Version)

So there you have it.  My two thoughts on love today:  be thankful for family and be reminded of what love really is in its purest state.  

Enjoy your Valentine's Day!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Will Got it Right

Will Rogers

The weather here has been downright crazy!  A famous Oklahoman named Will Rogers coined the phrase, "If you don't like the weather in Oklahoma, wait a minute and it will change."  He certainly got that right this week!

Tuesday morning started off bright, calm and sunny.  The girls and I were out and about in the morning, then came home for lunch.  Around 2:00 we were having a tea party in the girls' room when I noticed the sky looking a bit cloudy. Soon we heard thunder gently rumbling and I thought to myself, "What a perfect afternoon to be home."  About fifteen minutes later my peaceful mental state changed as the tornado sirens started blaring.  I jumped up and turned on the news in time to hear a local weatherman stating that my area of town needed to take shelter immediately.  I quickly put the girls in the bathtub (Center of the house, no windows-- I know my tornado precautions.  Gary England would be proud! Ha!), surrounded them with pillows and blankets, then ran back to the TV to check in.  We were still in the direct path of a potential tornado, so I took cover in the tub with the girls.  

Now, us Okies are used to tornadoes in the spring.  It's a fact of life.  People who have lived here a long time actually go outside and watch the storms rolling in, taking pictures casually, but knowing when to run for cover.  It's an exciting season that I think we secretly get an adrenaline rush from.  But a tornado in February?  This threw even the most seasoned storm watcher for a loop!  Tornados just don't happen in the winter! Right?  

Wrong.  Thankfully our house and neighborhood were spared any major damage.  The only thing we had was some serious quarter sized hail that filled our yard and danced like popping popcorn as it fell.  But businesses just south of us and entire neighborhoods north of us really got hit hard.  Roofs were blown off.  Walls fell down.  Entire homes devastated.  I truly feel for the people whose memories and hard work went down the drain in a heartbeat.  

Yes, I'd say good old Will Rogers got it right.  Just waiting a minute sometimes in Oklahoma can bring significant weather change.

Sunday, February 8, 2009


We've officially hit the "why?" phase at our house.  You know, the phase where your child asks the question "why?" to every single thing you say.  I thought we might skip it, but it's now in full swing.  For the record, Hannah is the official "why?" questioner right now.  Leah either doesn't care or is too busy doing her own thing to ask.  I never thought those constant questions could be so annoying, but I'm telling you that my patience has been tested. Thankfully, I haven't lost it and I'm reminding myself that she's only four and trying to figure out this crazy world we live in.  

For example, we were watching America's Funniest Home Videos tonight and every single time I laughed at something, she would ask, "Why are you laughing, Mama?" And every time I would answer, "Because that was funny."  Five minutes later, "Why are you laughing at that, Mama?" You get the point. 

Also this morning the wind was blowing like crazy, and Hannah is a little nervous about strong wind (Living in tornado alley has something to do with that-- and that I've let her watch The Wizard of Oz a few times, but that's a different story....).  As we carried her and her sister from our car, across the church parking lot, and into the building we heard her voice asking, "Why is it so windy?  Will the wind blow me away?" 

As we pulled into our driveway after church this afternoon, there was a gigantic black spider hanging out by our garage door.  Mike got out first and gently used a broom to brush it into the grass and out of our way.  "Why you did that, Daddy?" and "Why was that spider there?" and even "Is that spider going home?"  and "Where does that spider live? Does that spider have a family?"

And finally tonight after Leah was sound asleep, I heard her little voice calling out from her dark bedroom, "Mommy!  Mommy!"  I went in and sat beside her as she said in a very sad and pathetic voice, "Why is no one in here to keep me comfortable?" (I think she meant company instead of comfortable, but it's still really cute).  I had to calmly reassure her that she was okay, and that I would tuck her in and scratch her back for a few minutes.  Because I'm a sucker that way.  =)

So this little Hannah of mine is asking questions.  A lot of questions.  But I have to remember that she's looking to me for answers.  And how I respond to her really matters.  I don't want to blow off her questions (as annoying as they sometimes may be right now!).  She's learning. 

And as she grows up and becomes a young woman, I hope she still comes to me with all her questions.  

Friday, February 6, 2009

Nature Center

Today we had some fantastic weather.  Over 70 degrees and it's February 6th!  Taking advantage of this unusual warm up, we met a friend at a local nature center to have a picnic and go on a hike. And guess what?  When I got there my camera battery was dead-- as a doornail. So no pictures today.  I will have to rely on some great describing words to help you picture our day in your head.   I can, however, give you the link to Martin Nature Center because you may want to check it out anyway.  It's a wonderful little place I've been visiting now for over 20 years.  

When we first arrived and settled at our picnic table, the wind was pretty fierce and still slightly chilly.  So we ate quickly and had to hold down our sandwiches so they didn't blow away.  The girls were excited to get started on our walk, so we tossed our trash and away we went.  Once inside the park, shielded by the all the big trees, the wind died down and the sun warmed us through.  The girls and their friend Abby giggled and squealed each time we came to a fork in the road or a map.  They loved figuring out which way to go.  We walked for awhile before we came to the river.  Today it was gently bubbling along over the red jagged rocks and created a really relaxing setting.  The girls enjoyed throwing rocks into the water while Mindi (Abby's mom) and I chose to chat while basking in the sun.  

Our hike later took us over a tall bridge which was perfect for throwing some of our leftover fruit down to the fish.  A few squished grapes and apple pieces made a great snack for the catfish that surfaced up from the muddy depths to munch.  We also spotted deer and raccoon tracks along the muddy outskirts of the trails we walked.  

Close your eyes, and imagine if you will these sights and sounds:

--golden sunlight shining through naked winter trees
--crunching gravel beneath five sets of feet
--the gentle breeze blowing dry scratchy leaves around
--giggles of three 4 year old girls
--the occasional sound of a distant airplane overhead
--the bubbling river always nearby
--the flushed pink cheeks and tired stare of my kids as we drove home

After being cooped up last week with ice and snow-- this was a very welcome change of pace.  It made me long for spring.  I think I physically ached to look at the barren trees to see the first signs of buds appearing.  But then I remembered that it's only February.  We haven't even hit Valentine's Day yet!  So spring is still out there down the road a bit.  

But it will come. 

It always does.  

PS-- Happy 39th Anniversary to my Mom and Dad today!  I'm so glad your paths crossed!!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Blueberry-Walnut Cake w/ Lemon Filling

Ok, so here's the recipe to my absolutely favorite cake of all time.  Mike and I have vastly different opinions on cake-- his opinion being that chocolate cake is the only kind there is. Everything else he can leave behind.  Don't get me wrong, I love chocolate cake too, but I am also a fruit/nut/berry/kind of person.  And I am not a big fan of icing, so this cake works out great.  Just a little filling between layers, not a inch of crusty stuff on the top.  That's just me though.  Also, this cake is a little bit labor intensive, so set aside some time to do it.  The results are worth it!! So here goes.....

Ingredients for the cake:
1 1/2 cups whipping cream
2 tsp. vanilla
3 eggs
1 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup ground walnuts (I use the food processor to grind them to a flour-like consistency)
2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1 cup fresh blueberries

Directions for the cake:
1.  Beat whipping cream and vanilla in a chilled bowl until stiff. (I use the hand mixer because my arm is not strong enough!!)
2. In a separate bowl, beat the eggs until thick and lemon colored.  Fold eggs into cream.
3. Mix flour, sugar, walnuts, baking powder, and salt.  Fold into cream mixture.
4. Fold in blueberries.
5. Pour into 3 greased & floured round cake pans.  Bake at 350 for 30-35 minutes.  Remove pans and cool completely.
6. Make lemon filling (see below).  Place one cake layer upside down on serving plate.  Spread evenly with 1/2 the filling.  Top with second cake layer.  Spread the remaining filling on top. Place the final cake layer on top and sprinkle with powdered sugar.  Refrigerate until ready to serve!

Ingredients for Lemon Filling:
1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1/2 tsp. vanilla
2 egg yolks

Directions for Lemon Filling:
Beat butter, sugar, lemon juice and vanilla with an electric mixer.  Add in egg yolks one at a time until mixture is light and fluffy.

I hope someone attempts to make this!  If you do, please report back as to how it turns out. I've only attempted this cake once.  Usually I just let my mom make it once a year on my birthday. Is that lazy?  I should probably give it another try!!


Sunday, February 1, 2009

A Shower and a Surprise

We've had a pretty good weekend here at our house.  Saturday morning I found a surprise waiting for me in our mailbox from my blog friend Maria Rose over at Little Things Are Big.  It was a beautiful photograph that I can't wait to frame and hang up at our house.  And go check out her blog-- it is creative, upbeat and a lot of fun to read.  So, thanks Maria!!

Me and Tundra with my prize!

Later that afternoon I drove to Enid, OK to attend my cousin's baby shower.  My cousin Steve is in the Air Force and so we were all thrilled that he and his wife got stationed just an hour away from Oklahoma City.  We've been able to see them more often, and we're all so excited to meet their little boy when he makes his arrival in a few more weeks.  While I was gone, Mike took the girls for a "Daddy and Daughter" outing.  They went to Chick-fil-a for lunch, played at the playground, then went by Blockbuster where the girls each picked out a movie of their choice. We ended up with a Land Before Time movie and an animated version of The King and I.  

The girls before they left for their date with Daddy.

Today we went to church, then headed over to my parents' house for my annual birthday dinner.  My birthday is actually February 3rd, but we celebrated a few days early.  My mom always makes me my favorite meal:  beef & peppers, napa cabbage salad, and blueberry-walnut cake with lemon filling.  My mom lived in Okinawa during her high school years, and while there my grandparents' housekeeper gave them some delicious traditional recipes.  My mom has been making these dishes as long as I've been alive and I love 'em.  She found the cake recipe while I was in college, and since I love the combination of lemons and blueberries, I was sold!

My delicious blueberry-walnut cake.

It was an enjoyable day followed by a pretty intense Super Bowl during which I snuggled with my sweet Tundra. I tried to take her picture, but she gave me this face......

Tundra saying, "Why do you insist on taking my picture?"

I hope you all had a nice weekend!  What did you do?